IS IT A CRIME TO BE A CHRISTIAN
The Life and Testimony Of a Converted Muslim
I Hassan, born in an orthodox family where I was hearing always about the Islam; my parent sent me to the Islamic school to learn the Quran. They want make me Hafiz’ Qari and a good preacher of Islam. I taught Quran by heart, [memorized Quran] and was studying to learn more so that I can teach to other people about the Islam. According to my faith, Islam was a good and perfect religion and I was against to the second big religion Christianity.
I always say that Christian people are foolish and mad because they believe that the Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Is Mary was the wife of God? There were many questions in my mind, which I can ask to Christian people. How a man, Jesus Christ, can save you? How you can call God the Father? God is God, and He has no wife that He can have Children.
Since 1975, I was at my uncle’s Shop, where some Christian organization were throwing hand bills regarding the Christianity, and I decided to read it so that I can debate with Christian, and I can guide them because they don’t know about the truth. When I started studying the scripture, interest increased in myself and, instead of converting soul to Islam, I felt some power is pulling me to the Christianity ~ to know much more about the truth and time came I was fully agreed with the scripture. Since that day and my stage, I could not return to Islam.
Then, I met a preacher of Gospel who told me more and helped me to study the Bible thoroughly. I was aware of the Muslim’s religion. I studied and compared the Bible with the Quran, where I found that Jesus Christ is not only the prophet but He is Lord and God with us on earth, which has power to forgive anybody’s sins. In the mean while, when I talked to my family and friends about the truth, a conflict arose between us who brought fight between other people and me.
My parents and few friends call a preacher of Islam to teach me. They asked me some questions and request me to change the decision.
The big question was: “How you can call God the Father?” I proved it with reference. But, preacher of Islam was not agree yet, says God is God, you can’t call God the Father this is a big sin if you will call God the Father. And you have to apologize otherwise you will be punished.
Preacher said you are out of mind and devil is working in you. I don’t know what he whispered to others and they beat me severely. My chin was apart and my clothes were wet with running blood. It was so painful. But, this pain was a sweet pain because it was because of my faith’ and I proved that my faith is true. A Muslim doctor stitched my chin.
Since 1976, when my father said you can not eat with us you can not live with us and you can not get share in my property because now you are a non Muslim and you knows very well that, according to the Islam, your punishment is death. But, I want to give you some time so that you can think about your wrong decision.
It was second week of January 1976 when my parents kick me out from house with these word that from now we don’t have any relationship with you, from now you are pagan for us, and still we will be ready to accept you if you can come to mosque and announce that you don’t believe this paganism.
Many time, Muslims people and an Islamic organization tried to kill me. But, God saved me from every step of evil.
I was running and sharing testimony, city to city. Few friends told me that your parents and a religious group are looking to kill you because you are a bad example for them.
I ran away to other city where, a principal of a Christian technical training center, a British man kept me and I spent there two years; one year training for electrician and one year to serve the Lord in town and villages.
After a few month, when Muslims heard that I am living in “CTTC” [Christian Technical training center] they sent few bad characters people to kidnap me. When a British Teacher saw and listens what they are whispering, he told principal and he ordered to shift me to other nearest city. It was a big old hospital building that they bought for mission work and I spent there two month. After two month, principal call me back for final examination for my trade because I was away from CTTC, for two month, and I passed this examination with grade C.
I wrote a book titled “Christianity or Islam” and I sent it to a Christian press. They answered, we can not print it because Muslim can burn our press because of this book. Then, I sent it to the USA. A brother wrote me, Muslim is looking for Sulman Rushdi, writer of satanic verses, and we can’t print it, for your sake, because Muslims can kill you and we don’t want it.
Sulman is of Indian origin and Iranian Government issue decree to kill him. But Government of France gives him asylum and security. I am not sure whether still he is alive or not.
I was missing my home city and, after two years, when I return to my city, a Christian man gave me a room to live. Next to my room, a preacher of gospel was living with his family. They were aware of my situation. When few people beat me severely because of my religion and same preacher of gospel look after me for whole night, he was praying for my life when I was terribly injured. He provided me medical treatment and, after a few days, he said I love you and your faith. I want to ask you if you can live with me, as my family member.
He moved to another area and I spent few years with them.
My brothers heard that I am back to home city. One of them contacted me, Hassan still we are waiting for you. Please, just go to mosque and pretend that still you are Muslim. Please, for our mother sake, because she is sick because of this situation. Please, she is waiting for you.
How I can leave my life? How I can leave my Savior who has died for me? I answered.
My brother changed the topic. He smiled and says we are glad that you have come back. Mother can not wait to see you and we realize that we really treated you wrong, and we want to welcome you back to the family. We will celebrate it with good memory. We will arrange a big party today; whole family will eat together.
I accepted the invitation. I said this is answers of my prayers and I will join my family again.
Same day, in the evening, I was with my father and brothers when I greet my mother. She was weeping and cried tears of joy. It was obvious she had done everything possible to make the reunion a happy occasion. Everyone one was happy at this occasion and table was overloaded with food. My mother cooked my favorite dishes.
When I dipped my fingers in food, my father and brothers were talking about the family business. I told them shortly about my travels and about my faith. No one was trying to convince me to return to the Islam.
My brother and father are whispering when still I was eating, I suddenly became very ill. My arms and legs prickled and went to sleep, blood was running from my nose and body was convulsed with pain. I was praying to God in my heart because I knew that what they did with me. They gave me poison in food. Then, I remembered when few friends told me that I am a bad example for the family and the religion of Islam. I ran out to the road.
A rickshaw [taxi driver] asked me where you want to go. When I saw a cross is hanging in his motor rickshaw, asked his name, he said, my name is Peter. I went to my preacher and he took me to a hospital, where doctor washed my stomach. Praise the Lord, who saved me from the step of evil and gave me life. I was terribly sick because of poison reaction, and preacher and a brother in Christ sent me to a village where I spent few days until I got better.
I was very dis-hearted and feel so discouraged what is next and always think that anytime Muslim can kill me. One evening around 9:00pm I wan sitting in Church and thinking if I can return home because this pain of suffering is too much for me and I can not bear it any more, I am alone weak and tired and torn. Suddenly I feel as I am sleeping and my body become as I am a little baby, someone dressed in white robe holding me in His arms and caring and sustaining as like a mother hold her sick child and child feel so comfortable in mother’s hands. I could not see His face as I was just a child hold in His arms but He was in white dressed, after few minutes when I was lying on the floor I felt so comfortable and it make me strong, and till that day I feel someone with me always taking care of me.
Up to this day I always feel as someone with me and comfort me at the time when I feel uncomfortable. He encourages me when I feel discourage. He sustains me at the time of sorrow and cry.
Brothers in Christ decided that I should leave the country for a while. And I ran away to other countries so that I can hide myself. I went to Iran, Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Austria, and China.
God is great. He can use His servant anywhere and he used me in Syria, at the Syrian’ check post when police put me in a basement prison. I asked what the charge is, they did not answer. After a week from the basement prison, where you can not see the light, they took me to the central prison of Damascus and my charge was that I have a full bag of scripture and you can not preach Christianity in our country, and now you will be in prison for two and half month. When I entered in prison, a prisoner Australian Citizen, name David, welcome me and gave me little instruction.
I was continuing to praying to God Father, why you brought me here. Please, let me know what my fault is. I was feeling myself very alone in prison. Most time, I was spending in prayer and in singing for the Lord.
After a nine week, police brought a British young man, named Allen, in prison. He was dressed in Syrian clothes and Muslims prisoners and workers in prison were together and were praising their God. When I asked a prisoner the reason that why you were together, he said praise the God that this British man changed his Christian religion and now he is a Muslim, and we are happy that now he will go through heaven. We are glad that we convert a Christian to the Islam.
I was very sad about this situation. It was against to my faith. When I was looking to Allen, he is continuing going to Mosque and acting in their prayers as they were doing in mosque.
Father, how Allen can convert to Islam? O, Jesus, I am sure Allen is not aware of Islam. Then, why he denies you before many people?
One day, I asked to God, Father, I can’t face it everyday and I want to ask this young man that what is the fault he have seen in my Jesus Christ. Is this is the fault that Jesus has died for you? Is this is the fault that He is crucified for you? Father, give me wisdom and knowledge, and I will talk to him.
11 o’clock at night, I went to his bed, afraid that he can tell to the Muslims about this meeting, about the religion. But, I decided I have to talk. He was smoking when I greet him, Hi!
He said, Hi!
My name is Hassan and I am from Asia.
He answered, I am Allen from UK.
I asked, what is the charge against you?
I can see the tears in his eyes he said, I was in hotel. Someone stole my passport. Police brought me here because I don’t have proof of my citizenship. I am very much worried because UK embassy is not in this country. I don’t know what I should do.
When I heard his story, it makes me sad. I asked, what is your religion?
Answered, I am Muslim.
>From how long you are Muslim?
I accepted Islam in this country.
Did you studied about the Islam?
Are you Muslim? He asked me question.
I said, no, I am an Asian Christian. He was screaming when I told him that I am converted from Islam to Christianity. He told me that he changed his religion because of the charge that he looses his passport. One Muslim advises him, if you will change your religion, police will treat you as a good person. Otherwise, they can torture you.
I promise to Allen, I will pray for you and I will talk to an Australian friend if he can help you. At night, we were praying together.
One day, I saw David in next campus. I spoke to him little about the Allen and his situation. David told me Syrian are very against to British people. Therefore, they kick out UK embassy from Syria. But, God is great and He will help us. David promises me that he will talk to the Australian embassy, if they can help Allen.
David wrote a letter to the Australian embassy and, after few days, three people, from Australian embassy, came for visit to Allen. They brought some fruit, cloth, and a pocket size copy of the New Testament. They promised for help.
After two days, a man came from Australian Embassy with ticket and an emergency passport for Allen.
He gave me a huge hug and says, O, Father, forgive me. You are so good to me. His last word was to me, my friend, I am thankful to God that I am a Christian and I am thankful to you for all kind of help, and for you that you reminded me and proved that our God is alive.
I gave thanks to God, Father, and thank you that I am not alone. Thank you that you can use your children anywhere.
After two days, a police man called me and said; you are released. And he said he was enjoying when I was singing songs in my language. Police bus released me at the Turkish border.
I was sick and tired and could not find the job in Turkey. I decided to return to Iran. When I went to Iranian embassy for visa, they required to charge $50.00 at the Iranian border. It makes me sad because I had $45.00 in my pocket. I fast for one day, to ask God for money so that I can get visa for Iran. I was in prayer and I decided to tell the Iranian embassy that I don’t have money.
After prayer, I went to Iranian consulate and I told him whole story that how Syrian put me in prison and now I don’t have money. He was happy when I was talking in Persian language. He said, give me your passport. I will see if I can help you. Next day, when I asked him, he said, this is against to our law but I don’t know why I stamped visa on your passport. It was great joy. I praised to God for the help.
I went to Iran, in Tehran City, where few friends welcome me and they helped me to find the job. I was working in a scale factory, named ‘Benazeer’, out of Tehran. I was worshiping with a church at the University Road, in Tehran.
During the first week when I reached in Iran, I went to church and I met Ali’ an Iranian; Muslim friend who was studying about the Christianity. I told him about myself, that how I accepted Christ my Savior.
After a month, he proclaims and accepted the Jesus as his Savior. He was working in Air Force and was living with his brother. When his brother heard that Ali’ is interested in Christianity, he kick him out from house.
When I left Iran, Ali’ was seeking for shelter in his own country and I was ashamed that why I can’t help Ali’. When I told Ali that, tomorrow, I am leaving your country, he was sad.
Then, I went to China and stayed there for a month. I contacted to brothers in Christ, in my motherland, so that I can return to my own land. Same day, when a military man who was also a religious leader died in plane crash, I returned to my motherland.
It was a great joy. There is no place like the motherland. But sometime, it is very difficult when you are not safe in your own home.
When Muslims heard that I am back, they tried to kill me by accident and they crushed my legs. God sent some people and they took me to a nearest hospital, which is belong to a Prime minister of Country.
When Christian world heard about this incident, they were praying for me. Muslims were happy that now I will never walk and I will spend my life as a disable person.
God is great and He is always so good to me. I spent more than one and half year like a disable person and my God saved me. Now, I can walk and work. But up to now, sometime inside pain remind me that God is alive and he brought me to the life when I was on bed, like a dead person.
God gave me new life. But, I was not able to travel. I decided to live in a town so that I can hide myself from this evil world.
I brought a mini truck and decided to start a business, so that I can get my daily needs. I started work as a salesman with a food factory. After a few months, after some struggle, I won the market; as God is with me and I was starting my work with prayer and guidance from God. He really blessed me and gave me a name in this failed. When other workers heard that I am converted from Islam to Christianity, they beat me and, after a year, I left that factory.
After a few days, God gave a contact for other factory and I got the job as sales supervisor. After a year, when people heard that I am a converted from Islam to Christianity, before they persecute me I left the factory.
I joined another food factory. They were happy with my job and they gave me distribution for their products. I spent two years with them and, when I left this place because of my faith, a friend told me about a job as a salesman. I went to there for interview and I was selected.
The Church advised me to marry and I marry to a Christian lady. Sarah, my wife, was working as a staff nurse in a government hospital. Life was smooth and we were happy in our home. Three years later, God blessed us with a baby boy. Then, just over a year later, God blessed us with a baby girl. We were living in town, away from the enemies of faith.
It was April 1998; I was working as a salesman. One day, in my factory where I was working, a Muslim man asked me, let us to go to mosque for prayer. I ignored him, as I didn’t hear him. He asked me again and repeated it three times.
After that, he asked one of my driver, why your boss is not going to mosque.
He answered how he can go to mosque? He is Christian.
No how, he can Christian. In our record, he is Muslim; by his name and father’s name.
When he insists, my driver he said, why are you asking me? Ask him he is converted from Islam to Christianity.
It was too much for a Muslim. He talked to other fellows. They beat me severely. They said, why you didn’t inform us when you join the factory? We were eating with you and we don’t know that you are an unholy person. They beat me and broken my truck. I ran away. They warn me to leave the factory and return to the Islam.
I left everything. I talked to a Christian friend about the situation. He was sorry to help me.
One day, I was with a preacher of gospel when, 10:30 at night, he dropped me at home. Burglars had forcefully opened the safe with a steel bar. Money, jewelry, and other many things were gone.
We called to other brothers for help. We pray together for the wisdom and decided that we will not go to police, because police can arrest me because of my faith. I was praying to God for help and was asking to God for wisdom, and I told God, I am leaving this country. Father, you know they warn me and they want to kill me and my family. Please, help me.
A converted brother whom we love, who is working as a preacher, he came to me and said; I am very sorry for the situation. He talked to a friend who is a Bishop.
One day, Bishop calls me and said; I am sorry for everything. I wish if I can help you and he provided me help to escape to the UAE.
One day, same Bishop phone me from next state, to me in UAE, that he want me to introduce to a couple, they are servants of Lord. It was really a great fellowship, when I met a Dutch couple husband and wife. I felt that God blessed me through this couple. They are lovely people and you can see the God from their lives. They asked me to see my wife in my country and, after few days, my wife told me about their meeting.
It brought tears in my eyes when my wife phones me and was explaining me about their love. My wife told me she met her, as she is her mother. She said she was screaming with me, as I am her real daughter ~ when my wife told, to the great Dutch couple, about our past; how Muslims robbed our house. She presented a precious gift, a diamond ring, to my wife. This precious ring will stay with us until we are in this world. It will remind us the love of God and it will explain us the love of his children.
I was fasting and praying in the UAE. I was praying to God, Father, guide me about my future. One day, I received a phone call from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. A brother said, we heard about you and we are very sorry. He said, we have a brother next to your state, named Larry K. Harm. He is a USA national. We already talk to him and he will help you. I took his phone and address and went to his state.
When I phoned, his servant told me that brother Larry K. Harm is in office. When she phones him in office, he came to see me. Hi! My name is Larry and you must be Hassan.
Yes, I answered. Brother Larry K. Harm gave me a good respect and asked about my need. He asked me if I need money. I told him I have different problem, that I ran away from my country because of religious persecution and I can’t return to my country. He said, we will pray for you and we will help you as we can.
One day, he phoned me that he has contacted to Swaziland, where church can give you shelter. I don’t have word to explain about their love. Larry K. Harm’s family and the church treated me as I am their real brother.
After a one-month, I flew to South Africa where a friend who sponsors me for this trip received me at the airport. I could not see my brother, Larry K. Harm, again. But, they will be continuing in my prayers. Praise the Lord, who helped me to flee the persecution from UAE.
After a few months, Brother Larry K. Harm and the church brought my wife and children to UAE and, after a week, they see off my family for Swaziland. I am thankful to God for the wonderful families and their undying love.
One day, I received a packet from Holland. It was a great joy when I open it and received a wonderful book. It is written by same wonderful Dutch Servant of God whom I met in UAE. Book title is “Hidden Sorrow Lasting Joy”, by Anneke Companjen, from Open Doors International, where she also wrote my story. They make worldwide prayer request for us and so many people in the world are praying for us. We can not forget their love and I can’t value ate their love with anything in the world. I want to say that they are servants of the Lord and the blessed people in this world.
So, I spent over 6 years in Swaziland. Church applied, for USA and Canada, for us so that we can live an independent life, but refused. When a friend told me that situation is bit better in our country, I decided to return to home land. I have been visiting South Africa and Mozambique couple of time.
Wednesday, 08, September 2004, I was attacked by some fanatic Muslims and injured badly, but saved and alive by the special grace of God.
In March 2005 I was introduced by an American friend to a brother in Christ in South Africa name “Johan Lourence” When I told Johan about my conversion he just wrote an invitation letter to visit him in Pretoria. I asked my wife about this invitation and we decided to keep it in prayers. At the second week of March we just applied to South African embassy for visit visa and start waiting might they will call us for interviews. It was God’s plan for us to apply for South African visas and it was revealed upon us later. Satan was busy working against me and trying to punish me with death sentences.
I was serving through Internet among Muslims and people from other religions. One day I received email from a Muslim friend where he asked me few questions and it was so easy for me to give him with answers. He asked me how we can call God the Father or Jesus the Son of God and it was easy for me to prove from the teaching of Islam and he was agree with me.
In April 2005, I received a legal notice from attorney that I spoke against the Islam and he want me to get into court, getting a converted Christian into means they will punish him/her with death penalty as they have done to many like me. We started pray about this issue and asked to our mighty God for help. We asked Him to move on our behalf and force South African High commission to act on our application.
I wrote some of Brothers and sisters in Christ about this legal notice, some advice me leave the country immediately before he files charges in court otherwise it will be a big problem for you. One brother even advice me on what to do in country of destination. It makes my life so miserable and we could not sleep in peace until we left the country. After prayer I decided to leave the country and start continue praying to God for help.
Legal notice from an attorney
No. MISE/4/05 Dated. 12-04-05
Mr. ——– son of Niaz Ali resident of Kashana Asad But street, inside Dil Kusha Lahore.
I have been instructed by my client Mr. Asad Ehsan Son of Ch. Ehsan Qadir resident of House House No, 275-N samamabad Lahore, to serve upon you with the following Legal Notice:-
1- Whereas you got published an article about converting of your faith/Religion from Muslim to Christian and while commented upon back ground for converting your religion from Muslim to Christian you with deliberated and malicious intention of outraging the religious feeling of all Muslims including my client by using words in written manner and attempted to insult the religion of Islam .Para 6 of your article is reproduced below for reference:-
“Entire world knows that Pakistan is very difficult country for Minority especially for Christian. According to the Islamic Rules and regulation of Islam if someone convert from Muslim to Christian will be arrested immediately and can sentenced death punishment and his all property can be snatched by fundamentalist Islamic.”
2- Your point of view about religion of Islam as well as Pakistan is highly Objectionable & misrepresentation of facts and caused hurt to every Muslim of Pakistan.
3- Your statement referred to above is an Offence under Section 295-A, Pakistan Penal Code and liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years or with fine or with both.
Now by this legal notice you are advised to return back your statement against the principal of Islam otherwise I have clear instruction from client to move legal machinery against you and get remedy from the court of law at your costs &risks.
A copy of this legal notice is retained in this office.
I received a phone call from Attorney that you are a bad example to Islam it is better for you to come back and we will provide you whatever you need, bring your family in Mosque and pretend that you was wrong and Christian provide you with money to become a Christian. He asked me the name of Christian who keeps Converted from Islam into Christianity.
I answered him Sorry I can not accept Islam and Christian do not force and keep converted but I accept Jesus by myself and it was my personal decision. He was angry and threatens me to file charges in court. I was thinking he is just talking and trying to bring me back into Islam but after few days I saw a policeman at my door asking for that there is summons for Mr. Abdul Razaq to appear in court before Judge. It was enough for me understand what they will do with me. Of course surely they will charge me under death sentences. They can kill me anytime as they have already killed many like me. So I left the home and decided to leave the country.
In same week I received a packet from South African High Commission and found our Passports with visas and we thank God for that as even they did not call us for interviews. Praise the Lord for all His help and love for me and my family.
It was 27th of April when I saw police on the door asking for me to come into court but we were able to escape. By the help of God we were able to move into a friend’s home and on 29th on April at 10:30 pm we just move into the Air Port building as police were searching for us. We give thanks to God that we were able to fly at 3:30am and arrived at Johannesburg International air port at 4:45pm.
A very good friend of mine and relative to my wife who also hide me at his home in Pakistan when Police was searching for me, after a two week he sent me rest of papers from Court with charges where Attorney mention some other charges as well and also that I spoke filthy language against the Islam, even I do not know what he is talking about as they arte falls charges.
God is with us and taking care of in His mysterious ways, I want o share a testimony with you. One day there was not food at home and I was praying to God for help and think how I will explain children. Same hour I received a phone call from a person who I do not know before. And he asked me come over as he wants to talk with me. I walked as it was about 20 Minutes walk from my home. He asked me some question and I share my faith with him and when I left he said if you need any spiritual need tell us and will pray for you. I left him with the words of thanks that he will pray for me but ask to God, Father you know that we are in need of physical thing we need food but he want to pray for us.
Before sun down again I received phone call from same person that I am at your gate please can you come at the gate. I went and he handed me over bread and some soup. So I call my wife to come and serve food to children and decided to leave some for tomorrow.
Jesus said do not worry about tomorrow it will take care of itself. Tomorrow same time I received phone call from same brother that I am a t your gate please come over. He park his car inside the yard and open the back show me that I brought some food for you I hope you will be able to eat it. There was so much and my wife was confused where to put this all and what to eat.
I reminded my wife the promise of our Lord. Heb 13:5-6
5. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
6. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” _________________________________
By the grace of God I am well and alive in South Africa with many Christian brothers and Sisters in Christ. I serve the Lord with a local Church and my desire is to spread the Gospel of Christ among all people. God is so good to me and my family and He is taking care of us and provides all we need. We met some wonderful Servants of God and get encouraged through them.
In His Love,
Name change for security reason